Posts tagged comic review

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Comic Review: Breath of Bones: A Tale Of The Golem HC

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Being a World War II historian and a fan of the golem legend, Breath of Bones was a perfect combination of good storytelling and fantastic line art that held my interest the whole way through. The tale is told from the point of view of Noah, an Allied soldier who is going to take care of the upcoming attack with a repeat of something that happened to him as a young boy. And, so, we get pulled back to his childhood and a recounting of how his village survived with faith and strength.

When Noah was just a child, his father went to war along with the other able-bodied men of their village. Noah was left to live with his grandparents and wait, everyday, for his father to return. Sadly, the stark reality of war is that he will never see his father again. The monsters of Nazi Germany has stolen away this young boy’s childhood and made him grow up way too fast. But pretty soon the war is not some far-away threat, but one that is knocking on their village’s front door.

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An Allied soldier by the name of Simon Richards crashes his plane near the village. Noah and his grandfather, along with the rest of the villagers, hide him away and put out the fires of the crash, but pretty soon the event draws the attention of the Germans who send two soldiers to check it out. The villagers almost get away with the secret they are keeping, but after accidental exposure of Simon during a search and a resulting shootout that leaves one German soldier dead, one German soldier injured yet able to escape, and Noah’s grandfather bleeding from a gunshot wound, it is evident that the monsters outside will soon be coming into their home. It is up to them to fight or run away scared.

This is where the golem legend comes into play. Noah’s grandfather, Jacob, gifted him with a small clay figure prior, one that has been passed down from grandfather to grandson for many generations. Jacob is going to use the golem legend to build a large clay figure that will come to life through the power of faith and protect them from the oncoming Nazi attack. He gets the townspeople’s help to create the figure and then sends them on their way, hoping that they can escape to safety before the Germans come back. Choosing to stay behind, Noah, his grandmother, Jacob, and Simon all stand their ground and watch as the golem does indeed do what it was meant to do. And once his mission is completed, the golem goes back to being just clay again. The village is safe, for now.

And it is this memory of faith and safety that Noah uses again in present day. As we close the series, he is beginning to shape another figure out of clay so that the golem can rise up again and defend good men against the monsters. It’s a wonderful ending to a wonderful story. If you’re a fan of WWII, or the golem legend, or just a fan of great artwork and great storytelling, you cannot go wrong with Breath of Bones. Pick up your copy today and revisit the notion that good can indeed triumph over evil.

Rating: 5/5 stars

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Comics Review: Doctor Who Classics vol. 9

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Comics Review: Dr. Who Classics Vol. 9 [by various and sundry]

Review by: Prof. Jenn

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The ninth collection of Classic Who comics are all centered on the 7th Doctor, which is a lot of fun, as he’s not one that often gets his own spotlight in fandom or on TV these days. Many of the selections are light, comedic, and sometimes downright silly, and all read like a good classic episode, which is really what you want out of a volume like this. In general, the art is bold and colorful, the characters well drawn–it’s a matter of finding the balance between representing a fictional character and having a good dose of the actor’s likeness who played him. Some of the time this illustrated Doctor doesn’t look much at all like Sylvester McCoy, but the overall light-hearted ness of the collection makes this not such a big deal. In general, I’d recommend this collection for any classic Who fan. Here are some notes on the individual stories within vol. 9:

“Time and Tide”

This one is a very Star Trek TNG style plot: do you interfere with the clues aliens to save them, or do you leave them to their fate? It’s a sweet little tale with a lovely ending, and it’s the kind of story I’m glad is illustrated instead of on live tv, as the aliens are allowed to look really weird without the jarring effect of a dude in a rubber suit (or CGI).

“Follow that TARDIS”

A futuristic world in which there are stereotypical ’40s gangsters and Sinatra is president? Yes, please. This is such a slapstick-silly romp: what happens when two hilariously inept gangsters hijack the Doctor and his TARDIS to chase a monk through time? And one of them has a hand-held nuke? Hijinks, that’s what.

“Invaders From Gantac”

The poor Doctor just can’t seem to find Maruthea. Poor guy. This one centers around an alternate 1992 dystopia, wherein aliens have invaded London. But the aliens have got the wrong planet, and it’s up to the Doctor to convince them of this. We have an endearing hobo character in Leapy, and  his function does end up being quite important, but I’m just not sure about his effectiveness as a character. He seems more of a punch line.

“Nemesis of the Daleks”

I’ve already reviewed one of the issues in this story, and my opinion of the whole rains the same, after it’s resolution, etc. so. Yeah.

“Stairway to Heaven”

Hm. This one falls short. It’s too much a redone “Carnival of Monsters” but without the suspense.

“Hunger from the Ends of Time”

The art in this one is much sketchier in the outlines than the rest, and it’s very pleasing to the eye. Also, you gotta love a giant library/giant bookworm plot! I mean, this is no Vashta Nerada, but it’s still an exciting one-off monster tale of huge proportions. “Sainted geeks preserve us” is something I will say from now on.

“Train Flight”

Yay Sarah Jane! Oo and we have a terror-on-a-train story, with squicky bug-like aliens! So very fun!

Bottom Line: this is a fun, rollicking collection. Definitely recommended.

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Sheltered #1 & #2 Review

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Sheltered #1 & #2 Review

Writing: Ed Brisson

Art: Johnnie Christmas

Review by Melissa Megan

Victoria and her dad recently arrived at Safe Haven, a community intentionally removing themselves from ‘the grid’ and preparing for the end of the world, however it may come. They’ve got ham radios, bunkers stocked with food and water and the knowledge to survive almost anything. They’re still adjusting to their new home when things take a major turn for the worse.

Charismatic local boy Lucas heads up a rebellion against the adults of the compound. We’re not talking about throwing the grown ups in the basement here, every single one of them are killed and burned. It’s a shocking basis for the story and issue 2 wastes no time getting to the point. As Victoria and her friend Hailey return from a walk in the woods that caused them to miss the massacre, they are faced with the grim new reality of their situation.

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This is heavy shit, folks. Lucas is committed to his mission, although what that is isn’t exactly clear yet, and he won’t let any weepy kids get in his way. He’s already convinced the other kids in the compound to murder their own parents. The question is why and what has he got planned for the community left behind. Victoria is obviously a tough cookie and she isn’t prepared to lay down and start taking orders from Lucas or his child army.

So far, Sheltered is a very interesting read. The art works but it’s nothing that will blow your mind, the writing is the real meat here. This concept is high tension and I love how quickly the action got started. There is lots of potential for a great psychological thriller here and Sheltered has already delivered in a big way on emotional drama. You should definitely be reading this one, I have a feeling it won’t slow down.

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Presenting The Thrilling Adventure Hour Graphic Novel

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The Thrilling Adventure Hour is a podcast (which is actually a rebroadcast of a monthly stage show) in the style of an old-time radio show. At least, that’s all it was until now. Thanks to the support of their fans and Kickstarter backers, they were able to create a graphic novel! Featuring some classic characters as well as current favorites, the TAH novel is 136 pages of pure fun. It has everything a fan of the podcast could want and then some. Not only do you get stories of Sparks Nevada, Marshal on Mars and those married mediums Frank and Sadie Doyle from Beyond Belief, you also get to see adventures from Colonel Tick-Tock, Captain Laserbeam, Amelia Earhart, and more! It even includes ads for Patriot Brand Cigarettes and other fun things, all in the style of old newspaper or magazine ads.

“What if you’re not a fan of the podcast?” you ask. Fear not! While the stories will definitely appeal to current fans of the show for many different reasons, the stories also stand alone very nicely. True, as a fan of the show myself I was very excited to see the characters I had become familiar with come to life on the page, but I also tried to imagine seeing these characters being presented to me for the first time and couldn’t find anything that would make me feel lost or disconnected in any way. So, whether you’re on old-time fan of the show or this is your first introduction, I believe the TAH graphic novel has something to offer everyone. I do heartily recommend checking the podcast out once you’ve finished the novel, however. Each episode is pretty short (about 30 mins) and there are a lot of fun stories in there for you to catch up on. Happy consuming, nerds!

 

The Thrilling Adventure Hour graphic novel is now available at your local comic shop. It will be released in all bookstores Aug 20th. You can find more at the TAH website. To check out the podcast go to Nerdist website, where you will find it listed along the many other podcasts in the Nerdist family.

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Review: Buddy Cops

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BuddyCopsDark Horse is (kinda) proud to present Buddy Cops, the story of a demoted space cop and 1970s android that hate each other. The problem is that Uranus (the demoted space cop) gets drunk and wild while TAZER (the android) is more traditional and follows the law and procedures to the letter. Somehow they manage to work together despite their differences and immense hatred towards each other. Buddy Cops takes you through some of their adventures as they battle nuclear monkeys and equally ridiculous monsters (“ridiculous” used with the greatest sense of love and affection here). If you’re looking for a fun one-shot comic, look no further than Buddy Cops. Go pick up a copy from your local shop today!

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The Massive Vol 1

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TheMassive_cover“The Massive gives us a different, and essentially unique, take on the story of the end of the world. It doesn’t revel in destruction; when scenes describing the planetary crisis show up, they make clear that this was a true disaster, not a disaster movie. Millions have died, in dirty, tragic, and decidedly noncinematic ways. Instead, The Massive is a story of the necessity of resilience. While it leads us through the catastrophic aftermath of the Crash, we soon see that survival here is not the purpose in and of itself—it’s survival with the hope of making things better, even while recognizing that the old world’s legacies (in materials and ideolo-gies) yet remain.”

 

This introduction to Volume 1 of “The Massive,” mirrors the thoughts I shared in my review of Issue #1 back in June (although decidedly with a gift for language I can only hope to one day touch). The only thing I added was how fantastic the artwork was. The superb attention to detail in both art and story continue with the rest of this first collection.

 

One thing I loved about the first issue of “The Massive” was how the action starts immediately and the reader is thrown into a world where it doesn’t know the rules, but quickly learns. Never confusing, always intriguing, “The Massive” does a fantastic job of taking the reader on a journey through a post-apocalyptic world where two sister ships must find their way back together while also discovering the cause of the event known to us as “The Crash”. The story gets richer with each page, making the reader dive into a world that’s falling apart, bit by bit. As we learn about this world and the destruction it has already seen, we also slowly get to know the cast of characters and how they ended up in the situations we see them face from the beginning of our story. The transition back and forth from past to present keeps the story moving in ways much more interesting than if the author had simply said “this is what has happened, now to continue…” It not only helps with the steady flow of the story, it also engages the reader better than a straight timeline would.

“The Massive: Vol 1″ is a brilliant collection of stories that introduces you to a world of chaos and disorder. It gives you plenty to drag you into this world, while still leaving you wanting more. Just a little more…

 

The Massive: Volume 1 is available now, so go ask about it at your local comic shop. Volume 2 will be available Dec 2013, and Volume 3 June 2014. Keep with it, because from what I’ve seen so far it promises to be a continuously good read.

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Review: Locke & Key Omega #3

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Writing: Joe Hill

Art: Gabriel Rodriguez

Colors: Jay Fotos

Review by Melissa Megan

 

The evil, murderous Dodge has settled himself in to little Bode Locke’s body and succeeded in getting his hands on the long sought after Omega key. The “Last Dance” has begun and it’s ugly. Bode/Dodge is headed to the black door to welcome his terrible, alien friends to this world and he won’t let anyone stand in his way, starting with poor Nina Locke.

While darkness is falling over the Locke house, Tyler and Kinsey are enjoying prom with their friends. Tyler accepts what he can get from the woman he loves and comes to terms with the tragedy of being in love in high school. Kinsey revels in the unique qualities of her closest friends and as the night comes to a close, chooses the after party over home. Everyone is headed for the caves, where the final party of the year is just beginning, in more ways than the Locke family realizes.

If you’ve been reading Locke & Key, by now, if you have a heart, you should be desperate to see this family come out on top. At the least see them stop hurting. The Lockes have lost so much and struggled so hard to keep their family whole, it kills me to watch them be defeated by the weasley, arrogant Dodge. And as much as I really, really hate to see Locke & Key come to an end, the suspense of how it will all end is becoming unbearable. Oh please, please let the Locke family stop the demons. They deserve that much.

 

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Review: Bedlam #4

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Writing: Nick Spencer

Art: Riley Rossmo

Cover: Frazer Irving

 

A priest is gruesomely murdered. Fillmore Press is undergoing a nasty ‘interrogation’ by the local “hero”, The First. The police suspect Fillmore of being behind the recent murders since he volunteered himself as an expert. They feel he knows too much to not be involved and hope a good old fashioned beating will encourage him to fess up.

Detective Acevedo is working out the connections between the murderer and a possible dark background with the church, figuring out along the way that Fillmore may have been telling the truth that he’s not involved with the crimes. Let’s not forget, of course, that Fillmore was once maniacal killer Madder Red, so he may be involved in something before this is all over.

This issue starts off slow, for the usual speed of Bedlam, but the big bang at the end is worth the wait. Mostly an issue to help tie up connections and keep the crime solving moving for the cops, this one isn’t as brutal or bloody as past issues. No matter, you should have been reading this series already; if not, get on that shit. Bedlam is one of the best psychological thrillers being written in comics right now and Riley Rossmo’s art is superb here. Buy it, read it, collect it.

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Review: Harvest #3

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Writing: A.J. Lieberman

Art: Colin Lorimer

 

Ben was a successful surgeon until a nasty drug habit caused him to allow a woman to die on his table, exposing his addiction and his incompetence and eventually resulting in the loss of his medical license. After being approached by some powerful people running an illegal organ trade business, Ben quickly realized that his new job is despicable in enough ways that not even the lure of money and power are temptation worth doing it. He decides to blow up the business and try to rescue the latest victim, who he stole organs from, in an attempt to satisfy his relentless guilt.

As the Feds close in on Ben and clue him in to just how much trouble he is in, he realizes that his short stint in the organ theft business was enough for the people at the top to put the heat on him. His next choice is to throw himself in to a quest for revenge; calling in a favor to a rich man who’s daughter Ben saved gives him just the right partner he needs to pull it off. The millionaire clients that pay the organ business to keep them healthy and off of organ donation waiting lists are Ben’s targets and he wastes no time starting the hunt.

Harvest #3 picks up the pace nicely that it lacked in the first two issues, pushing the story in to new territory with more action and a plot that has potential to carry several more issues. I’m not going to say that Harvest is blowing me away just yet, but it’s definitely entertaining, morbid and unique. Those are all traits that are plenty to keep me reading.

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Review: Debris #3

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Writing by: Curtis J. Wiebe

Art by: Riley Rossmo

Issue #3 opens with a touching scene of Maya being schooled by her late mentor, Calista, in the delicate and patient art of becoming a ‘Protector’ for the last human outpost, Maiden. It’s not only apparent that Calista hoped to teach calm and thoughtful defensive techniques, but also that Maya was stubborn and fearless even as a child. The characters of Debris are quite likable and really help to draw you into the story; you really want to see them survive and succeed.

The art of Riley Rossmo is really at it’s best during Maya’s battle scenes with the giant trash bots that attack her in every issue. She’s nimble and smart and Rossmo does a great job at portraying the acrobatic movements of her fighting style. I’m very much a fan of his creative use of color as well, using it to create the right mood for each scene and allow the right things to pop in each panel to draw you in to the story.

Maya’s travel companion, Kessel, is wise and weathered; he tries to keep her optimistic but he’s obviously weighed down by his own personal doubts and demons. As the two search for a paradise neither knows actually exists, they grow closer through making new discoveries and sharing old wounds. The real story behind Kessel’s banishment from Maiden is sad and shines light on who he really is. Maya’s childlike curiosity for the sights, smells and tastes of the new lands they journey through expose cracks in her hard, warrior exterior.

Debris is a unique post apocalyptic story of human survival that grows ever more thick with emotion and profound character development. The writing is solid and engaging, the artwork bright and scenic. Debris #3 does a great job of building on the personalities of our protagonists and carries the story along at just the right pace. I definitely recommend this series to readers who enjoy a good adventure ripe with relate-able characters and the perfect dose of action.

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